Self-discipline + self-worth = financial freedom for single mom

Leaving behind something bad isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it can bring about new struggles. That’s just what happened five years ago when Jakeya left a bad relationship behind in Louisiana and brought her three children with her to Georgia.

“We stayed in a hotel for about three months; I didn’t even have a job when I came here,” Jakeya said. “The plan was to have a job and a house when we got here, but that did not work out. A little later, I found a job at a produce factory.”

While she was still struggling, things began to fall into place for Jakeya through an unexpected contact made through TikTok.

“It’s so crazy: I actually found out about BCM through this local lady meet up I heard about on TikTok. I thought, ‘I don’t have any friends; I’m gonna go,’” she said. “Ten other ladies and I who went all got added to a group chat, and one girl in there was talking about a financial literacy program she’d taken the year before. She’d graduated from it and was talking about how good it was.”

That program turned out to be BCM’s Budget for LifeTM program. After interviewing, Jakeya was accepted into the program herself, and as she says,

“The rest is history. Everything happens for a reason, and BCM came at just the right time for me.

“Budget for LifeTM showed me the importance of setting a budget and knowing where your money is going,” she said. “Before the program, I was spending $50 at convenience stores on chips, energy drinks and cigarettes and $80 a week on DoorDash. It was so much money! 

“Even though you start out feeling like you have no money, I’ve saved like $8,000 in the last two years. Having a budget changes everything! I also learned the importance of paying myself first by saving.” 

Another exercise Jakeya learned was paying for variable expenses with cash.

“I gave myself $40 cash to spend on my nonsense, but once that $40 was gone, that was it,” she said. “Budget for LifeTM really changed how I look at money. And while I make the same amount of money I did before, I feel like I’ve got more money now.”

To Jakeya, the help she received from BCM wasn’t just a frivolous gift; it was the chance at a life she never thought she could have.

“The program didn’t force me to stop buying anything; whatever I wanted to buy, I could still buy. But I made sacrifices, and my kids had to sacrifice as well. But I told them what we were trying to do,” she said.

“For me, BCM means opportunity, because not only did they help me learn how to budget, they helped me be able to pay off my debt and pay my rent to get to the place where I was even able to buy a house.”

And the reward was well worth the sacrifices. Thanks to her determination – and a little help from Budget for LifeTM – Jakeya and her kids were able to take a trip to Six Flags to celebrate their biggest success yet: purchasing a home they can call their own. 

“Before BCM, I was living paycheck to paycheck, I didn’t know how to budget, and I didn’t even have a savings account,” she said. “I now work at the Clayton County Water Authority and have for almost four years. And I just bought my first house!”

Jakeya has also set a goal to start a business of at least three vending machines before the end of the year. Her ultimate dream is to be a motivational speaker – and she’s off to a good start as the guest speaker at this year’s Budget for LifeTM graduation ceremony.

“You’ve got to have faith in God and faith in yourself. Most people don’t even believe that they’re worth having anything nice. That knocks them out of the race before they even get started,” she said. “I just want to encourage people to believe in the Lord and know that He’s got your back.”

There are a number of people Jakeya thanks for the position she’s in now, including Michelle, Kenya, Rose and her case manager Stan. She’s also grateful to BCM’s donors.

“God bless you,” Jakeya said. “Thank you for letting God use you to help other people in the community and for using the blessing God’s given you to pay it forward. BCM is really changing lives!”

Jakeya has truly experienced the life-changing blessing that is financial literacy. And she wants everyone to know that they can change their situation, too.

“I’m just a regular person like everybody else, and I want to encourage people and show them that if I can do it, they can do it,” she said. “BCM means everything to me; I love y’all and am eternally grateful.”

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